Blog

Less than 4 Minutes of Business Updates from Jon Schallert

Some of you know I’m a perfectionist (just like many of you reading this).

I stared at my computer screen for over 5 minutes, trying to think of a title for this blog post, and finally, just typed “Less than 4 Minutes of Updates from Jon Schallert”.

As Lou Heckler once said: “Done is better than perfect”.

I have a few things to tell you in the less than 4 minutes I have:

First, we have a hamster-escaping-his-wheel t-shirt winner for the best first sentence that describes what their business is. The winner’s name and entry are at the end of this blog post.

Second, I want to let you know that tomorrow, Thursday, I’m flying to Canada to speak at the Canadian Badlands Tourism Conference. Until I met someone from there, I didn’t know that there were two Badlands, one in Alberta, one in South Dakota. (Learn about the Canadian version here)

Then, on Sunday, I’m off to Las Vegas to speak at an international appliance retailer convention, and then, two days later, I’m off to Independence Kansas, population 8,729 and the home of Vivian Vance, who we all know as Ethyl Mertz from the I Love Lucy television show.

Those are three totally different audiences in three unique places, don’t you think?

Want to know what these groups have in common?

These communities and the businesses that are located in them all want to thrive in 2020, regardless of what is thrown at them. That’s the bottom line. All of the community leaders and owners in these three places want to attract more customers, increase their business sales, increase their community’s tax revenue, and the business owners and cities and towns and downtowns all are working together to become dominant Destinations for consumer spending.

You might not know this, but there are community leaders in this country who have flat-out told me that “It’s not our job to help business owners succeed.” True story! Came right out of the mouth of a city manager (in a city that will go unnamed from a state on the east coast that begins with a C.)

This year and in future years, the cities and towns that are going to be thriving with rising tax dollars are those who partner with their local business owners, encouraging and supporting them to create unique, diverse businesses that consumers find interesting. And when consumers return again and again, they’re going to be entertained and surprised and enlightened that right in their backyards, there are amazing products and services at their fingertips. That’s when consumers will learn to trust that the trip they make will yield what they’re looking for, and that they don’t have to drive to the big city or buy online.

And when this happens with each consumer, that’s when the phrase “Shop Small” will transition from being an overused, guilt-filled, one-day promotional plea to a way of life.

I’m running out of time here, so in my next 4-minute blog, I’m going to write about the City of Central Point, Oregon, a city that knows how to support small businesses.

But now, here’s our winner of the 1-Sentence Challenge, where I was looking for a single sentence (not a tagline), that tells a consumer what makes their business totally unique from all your competitors. And the winner is Susan Brinkman from Emporia, Kansas, the owner of:

The Bourbon Cowboy, Kansas’ only certified woman-owned, 6,000 square foot, two-level, country dance bar and pool hall. 

Congratulations, Susan, for submitting it. You win the rare, never-before-worn, hamster escaping his wheel t-shirt.

And for all of you who sent in your first sentences, thanks for reading my e-newsletter and blog and thanks for participating.

Until next time, everyone, let me keep hearing of your successes and challenges.

Jon Schallert

The importance of celebrating your successes

Last Thursday I spent the day in Marshall, Michigan, speaking to nearly one hundred business owners from all over the State. Some owners drove in from over 4 hours away to spend the day learning how to turn their businesses into Destinations, capable of pulling in customers from far outside their marketplaces and keeping the locals spending money at home.

Owners started arriving at 7:30 in the morning, with some finally heading back to their businesses after 4:00 p.m. It’s tiring for me to speak all day, but my day is not nearly as long as it is for the owners who come to learn. All of the owners who attended took time to leave their businesses for an entire day, and when the workshop was done, most of them go back to their businesses to work on the tasks that are still waiting for them.

I’m always amazed by the dedication and work ethic and stamina of the owners in my audiences.  These owners not only work hard, but they are also constantly critiquing themselves, always critical of their own shortcomings, always pushing themselves to achieve more, wanting to be better as owners and leaders in their communities.

If you’re an independent business owner who sees yourself in my description above, here’s something I want you to start doing:  At the end of each day, I want you to take a few minutes to write down the major successes you accomplished in your day.  Find a journal or a notebook that you can dedicate to this purpose and just grab it at the end of every day, and quickly jot down any major achievements you had that day.

Here’s why I’m asking you to do this: The owners I know don’t acknowledge their successes. Most owners are great at beating themselves up over the tasks they haven’t completed. They dwell on the mistakes they’ve made, and the opportunities that might have passed them by.

I think part of this is their perfectionist nature and part of it happens because owners expect themselves to create successes. When successes happen, they don’t dwell on them. They don’t pat themselves on the back when they knock something off their list; they just move onto the next unfinished task and the next challenge ahead.

Writing down your successes will seem foreign to you at first, but just take a couple of minutes at the end of each day and jot down any significant wins you’ve had. That’s it. Pretty simple.

One last thing: Try this technique for 1 month, and then, email me at Info@JonSchallert.com and tell me what you see happening.

We Have Seats in January and February’s Destination BootCamps

Every year, it’s the same: Our Destination BootCamp classes that are held early in the year always have the smaller attendance numbers than the ones that are held in the Spring and Fall.

Year after year this happens and my theory is that early in the year, owners decide to take certain steps to improve their businesses, but by mid-year, when sales haven’t grown like they wanted, owners realize that taking my class might help. Consequently, our later-in-the-year BootCamp classes always fill up.

There are plenty of advantages to taking our January 29-31 or our February 19-21 BootCamps: If you attend one of these classes, the smaller class size means that you receive more 1-on-1 assistance from me.  The early BootCamp classes also give you the entire 2019 year to implement the changes you learned, which means you’ll most likely see a greater impact in your 2019 revenue figures.

Finally, my 2½ day Destination BootCamp is only held in Longmont, Colorado, and it’s the only way you can learn my entire 14-step Destination Business strategy that I’ve been teaching since 2002.

If you’d like to learn more about all of our Destination BootCamp classes or you’d like to register for these empty seats, just go to:  www.DestinationBootCamp.com.

Thanks, everyone.  That’s it for this week.  Let me hear of your successes!

 

Jon

Destination Wyoming Main Street: Four towns, four days, and 1,200 miles

In late April and early May, I’ll be taking my longest-ever speaking road tour – four towns, four days, and 1,200 miles to talk to business owners and community leaders in the small cities and towns spread across Wyoming. The state has plenty of nationally-known tourist destinations, such as Yellowstone, Devil’s Tower, and Jackson Hole, and Wyoming Main Street wants to help towns attract travelers to come off the interstate for more than just a pitstop on their way to those vacations.

Linda Klinck, the Program Manager for Wyoming Main Street, wants me to help the businesses in those small towns add more tourists and visitors to the local shoppers to help them succeed: “We don’t have the density. We are so spread out in such small communities. But here’s what we do have: millions and millions and millions of tourists coming through the State each year. I’m challenging the communities to become a Destination and get the people off the highways. The businesses have to be ready for them. You’ve got to provide them the experience they’re hoping to get when they get there.”

Linda and I first met nearly 20 years ago, when I spoke at her state’s Main Street downtown conference in Indiana.  Then, Linda was part of the group in Logansport Indiana who sent a group of business owners through our Community Reinvention Program, where a group of business owners and a Community Leader all attend my Destination BootCamp, and they then enter a 4-month training program to help them successfully launch their new Destination Business goals.  She saw how this helped her hometown of Logansport.  Then, in 2015, Linda moved West and started leading Wyoming Main Street, and that’s when we reconnected again.

Wyoming Main Street is hosting and sponsoring these four workshops, and I’ll be posting the exact times, venue locations, and the cost to attend each Destination workshop in the coming weeks.  For now, put these dates and cities on your calendar for my workshops:

  1. On April 30: I’ll be in the southwest corner of Wyoming in the city of Evanston, and then,
  2. On May 1, I’m in downtown Laramie, then,
  3. On May 2, my workshop’s in Wheatland, and finally,
  4. On May 3, I’ll be ending the speaking tour in northeast Wyoming in the city of Gillette.

Any business owner or community leader, even if you’re outside of the state of Wyoming, can attend the workshop and participate in the learning.

I love speaking trips like this one.  Towns and small cities like these are crucial to our country’s well-being. The business owners in these communities are dedicated to a good life, they work hard, and they are proud of their businesses, homes, and the lives they have there. They deserve to succeed and there are tools and techniques that owners aren’t using that can help them tap the potential of their businesses, and I’m looking forward to helping them during these four days in this beautiful state.

Come stop by and learn something with me during my Wyoming Road-Trip.

Until next week,

Jon

Destination BootCamp class April 2017
Sure, Retail’s tough. And here’s how to succeed at it.

Not a week goes by without someone saying to me: “Retail’s tough.” I hear it from developers, bankers, downtown directors, and business leaders.  They say with a “That’s just the way it is” sigh.

Want to know how independent retailers today thrive? Here’s how:

At the invitation of Suzanne and Jim Sereff, owners of the Warm Hugs gift shop in Greeley, Colorado, I attended their invitation-only Mastermind retailer group in Kansas City the day before I was scheduled to speak at a big retailer conference.  I knew Jim and Suzanne because they had just attended one of our Destination BootCamps with their daughter Beth (they’re in the photo above).

Their Mastermind retailer group was made up of more than a dozen owners. They hold their annual 2½-day meeting when they’re all together for a conference, plus they have dinners together and informal meetings at trade shows through the year. When they can’t be together, they keep the conversation going with a private Facebook group page. Just watching them, I could see that they have what it takes to flourish in today’s small business environment – clear focus, open collaboration, courage to try new ideas, and accountability to keep commitments.

I was able to be with them for several hours.  One after another, these remarkably savvy people running their own successful stores stood up to talk about ways they’ve made their business better – a social networking tool, a marketing strategy – and they’d share their materials. All of them!

Suzanne and Jim got in front of the group and talked about coming to the Destination BootCamp and shared what she’d learned about becoming a destination business, like identifying and promoting their Unique Positioning, a key step in attracting local and out-of-town customers. They weren’t protective of secrets, and they were open to all kinds of feedback. Suzanne told me they also share product finds when they get together for dinner at the sprawling trade shows: “You cannot see everything in these huge buildings in Atlanta with floors and floors and floors of stuff. It’s nice to have other eyes out there.”

These owners aren’t worried about competing with big-box stores, or Amazon, and they don’t sit around being nostalgic about some golden age of small business retailing. They’re too busy getting it right in their own shops and confident that, with smart moves and each other’s help, the pie can grow big enough for everyone to succeed.

Sitting with them in their Mastermind group, I knew they were right.

the Hartville Hardware Store: The World's Largest Hardware store
Retail Isn’t Dying & the Retail Apocalypse Isn’t Coming

In the last 2 months, there have been multiple articles written about the “Retail Apocalypse”, the term journalists use to describe the many retail stores and malls that are closing.

One article in Bloomberg magazine by Matt Townsend and others was titled: “America’s ‘Retail Apocalyse’ Is Really Just Beginning”.  The article detailed the debt that major chains are carrying and the history of chains going out of business.

My favorite article was written by Bart Higgins in the Wall Street Journal that showed the Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio with the headline “What to Do with Dead Malls?” Bart wrote: “Brick-and-mortar stores are closing at unprecedented rates”.  To drive home the point, the WSJ used a photo of the mall at center court showing boarded-up stores, dying trees in the planters, and broken lights and tiles dangling from the ceiling.

All of these articles sure make it sound like the end is near for retail.

But nothing could be further from the truth.  What we’re witnessing is not the end of retailing. We’re witnessing the results of years of rapid retail growth of copycat stores who thought the way to grow profits was to add more locations, adding their stores to developer-created clusters of additional copycat stores in any city or county that seemed viable.

What we’re really witnessing is retail reinvention in a massive way. And the winners will be those proactive retailers that make themselves true Destinations for consumers, complete with one-of-a-kind product, services, experiences and surprises.  These retailers will continue to grow and thrive, despite any competition that comes from Amazon and other online retailers.

Want an example?  Look a mere 17.2 miles away from where the Rolling Acres Mall in Akron stands as a wreck of its former self and you can find the Hartville Hardware store, the world’s largest hardware store at 305,000 square feet, thriving in a city of 3,020 people.

What?  The world’s largest hardware store profitably exists in a city of 3,020?  Yes!  And though this store is unusual because of its size, there are hundreds of Destination retailers in North America whose locations are even more demographically-challenged, not nearly as large, with often lower populations, that are attracting both local customers and shoppers from miles away.

All of these stores are living proof that Consumer Destinations are avoiding an Apolcalypse and proof that as Destination retail thrives, so can small towns and urban areas prosper when a developer would never have considered their marketplaces viable for a mall of any kind.

So, when you hear someone say that “retail is tough”, remind them that it’s never been an easy vocation, and when someone says that Amazon is going to kill all retail stores, just smile and walk away because retail isn’t dying. It’s simply morphing. And those smaller communities, savvy developers, proactive downtowns, and retail entrepreneurs who recognize that ‘location, location, location’ is no longer the key to retail success will be the true beneficiaries of this retail shift.

That’s it for this post. Feel free to call if you’d like to talk more about your business becoming the most powerful version of itself, a Destination Business.

Jon Schallert
President, The Schallert Group, Inc.
(303) 774-6522

Testimonials from Destination BootCamp Attendees: April 9-11, 2019

Testimonials from Destination Business BootCamp Attendees:

April 9-11, 2019 Class

 

On the last day of the Destination BootCamp, we asked every attendee this question:

 

“What would you tell other business owners about attending the Destination BootCamp class?”

 

Here’s what they said:

 

  • “If you want to save yourself years of struggle—go here first the start out with the right tools.”

 

  • “It has been eye-opening for me. I’ve learned a lot and feel hopeful about the future, but it also confirmed a lot of ideas I’ve had but have not implemented.”

 

  • “I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t gaining the customer base I wanted, and this BootCamp helps clarify how to gain it.”

 

  • “The knowledge and guidance you get is beyond anything I ever imagined.”

 

  • “Taking 3 days to reimagine your business is the best investment you’ll make this year.”

 

  • “You’ll get specific, actionable steps—and resources to help you do them—to get your business noticed!”

 

  • “It just opens my mind to so many things that I know I can do to improve sales.”

 

  • “It is a good experience. It’s great to see all the business stories and transformation examples.”

 

  • “It is very informative. As a new business starting out, the 1-on-1 information is truly priceless.  I felt I had no clue.  Now I feel like we might be able to survive because another failure is not an option.”

 

  • “Gained valuable insights into methods on spreading a wider net, and gain customers for a little effort and money, words matter when targeting customers and retaining customers.”

 

  • “I would tell them [business owners] that even though this course is tailored towards retail, and I don’t have a retail store, I am still taking away very valuable skills to apply to my business. Jon’s a wonderful teacher and has a unique ability to reach the different attendees on a very personal and relateable level.”

 

  • “Simple package of Top Gun business tactics.”

 

  • “This camp has made me stop and think about details of my business that I hadn’t already thought about.”

 

  • “I’ve gained so much insight and knowledge in how to promote my business. Tons of new ideas to implement.”

 

  • “As a hospital CEO, I think we get bogged down in the pure financial and regulatory component of our business and spend less time on product development, marketing, and growth strategies. This BootCamp has opened my eyes to some areas that sorely need attention.”

 

  • “Information is invaluable and [business owners] must attend to build business.”

 

  • “This course has shifted my outlook on my next phase of marketing and outreach. It has also provided tools to take tasks off mu plate and still be more effective.”

 

  • “You will learn ways to promote your business on a larger scale.”
  • “You’ll gain insight into the importance and impact that various marketing tools have on growth of your business.”

 

  • “GO!! Jon gets you thinking in every aspect of your business.  So much info but given in a fantastic, memorable way!”

 

  • “This class is packed with information. I am a very visual person, and all the examples from other businesses trigger thought processes for my own business.”

 

  • “Very informative and educational. I’d do it all over!”

 

  • “You must learn something new every day and be willing to change, innovate, and learn 21st century skills and strategies.”

Need more information to help you decide?  Call me directly at my office and we can talk about how this class can grow your sales and customer traffic beyond what you’re doing now.

Thanks!

Jon Schallert
(303) 774-6522

Opportunity for 18 Grand County Business Owners to Participate in Community Reinvention Destination Business Program

Grand County Economic Development will pay for 18 Grand County business owners to participate in Jon Schallert’s Community Reinvention Program which begins with a 2½-day Destination BootCamp in Longmont on October 25-27. The organization is accepting applications for the grants until September 15.

Last year, 18 county business owners took advantage of a similar opportunity to participate in Schallert’s Community Reinvention Program that included his 20-hour Destination BootCamp workshop, 4-months of follow-up training, and a 1-on-1 on-site visit from Schallert to provide specific marketing advice to grow their businesses into “Consumer Destinations” (see photo below).

October late 2015Schallert, who has taught tens of thousands of entrepreneurs how to make their shops irresistible to both local and tourist customers, started developing his trademark 14-point strategy during a decade at Hallmark Cards where his model was called “The Schallert Method”.  Schallert’s firm, The Schallert Group, started in 1996 and is based in Longmont, where he holds six Destination BootCamps a year.  Over the last 14 years, over 50 counties, cities, and towns have participated in the Community Reinvention Program.

“I learned so much,” said Rachel Rayburn, owner of Altitude Jewelry in Winter Park, who attended last year. “It really feels like I’m now starting to see the benefits of that. It just took me a while to sift through all that new information. I was letting everything go on autopilot, and I wasn’t doing anything to market, and that was a mistake. He said, ‘Do lots of little pivots, do little low-cost things, see what works for you. We’ve had a lot of success with that.”

Rayburn implemented Schallert’s shop-rearrangement suggestions after his visit – putting a signature jewelry line on a dominant wall rather than by the door, for example – with immediate results.

“We flipped all of the cases and moved everything around,” she said. “We started seeing the sales of what we make increase almost immediately.”

To apply the BootCamp ideas to her Mountain Grind Coffee & Bistro in Winter Park, Susan Volk displayed her unique positioning statement on her most visible wall, promoted local food on a Wall of Fame behind her counter, and installed a copper replica of an old-fashioned expresso machine as the coffee shop’s “monument.”

“It was great to be able to put some of those things to use,” Volk said. “I was also able to use some of that information to create a new brochure that did a better job at telling my story. I think it’s generated a little buzz as well.”

Steve Kudron, owner of Quacker Gift Shop in Grand Lake, said the tips helped his personal business approach as well as his marketing. The store, which specializes in unique tourist-related items like rubber duckies, hand lotions, and fresh fudge, has online and wholesale components, along with his storefront on the boardwalk in Grand Lake.

“During the BootCamp, one of the things I learned was having the right kind of balance as a leader and what were some of the tools to be able to do that,” Kudron said. “That was a good refresher for me and an opportunity for me to make positive changes in our business.

‘I was able to take our understanding as a destination type store and really turn it using his unique positioning concepts. I was able to drill down and find the right blend of marketing as well as uniqueness in our store to really make a difference.”

Last year’s event also provided business owners in the county an opportunity to meet and start sharing ideas.  Business owners from Winter Park, Fraser, Granby, Grand Lake, and Kremmling all attended last year.

“It was great to meet people from other parts of the county,” said Volk, who later took a four-day trip to meet fellow participants in their own shops. “I met with a lot of those different business owners and got a chance to check out their businesses. I was struck with the creativity and energy they had there. Hopefully that raised some awareness for businesses in other parts of the county.

“It’s very challenging, particularly in small and rural areas where it can seem very competitive at time. The more of us that are succeeding, whether we have competing businesses or not, the better it is for all of us. I came away from the BootCamp and the Community Reinvention Program with a really strong sense of that, and I’d like to see that carried on to businesses across Grand County.”

Small business owners may apply to participate in this year’s Community Reinvention Program by submitting a letter of interest. Grand County Economic Development received a $27,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant with a token $290 investment from the County for the program. Eligible businesses must have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross sales to qualify.

For more information and to apply for the program, call Grand County Economic Development at (970) 531-1343 or email: dbutler@co.grand.co.us.

Creating Consumer Preference: The First Step in Becoming a Destination

Creating Consumer InsistenceFor those of you who just had a 3-day, July 4th weekend, you might have experienced what I did this past weekend, an overwhelming number of choices on where to spend my 3 days off.

All of these were on my “Possible Go-To” list:  There were several 4th of July parades in our area.  There were firework shows on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights.  Two of my favorite breweries had bands playing at them (Left Hand Brewing and Wibby Brewing).  Plus, there’s always a fun concert in our city’s park where they fire off a cannon that makes all the dogs pull out of their collars.

Then there’s the new Independence Day movie.  In this one, Will Smith’s character is dead.  I heard the movie’s not that great, but I’m still wondering how are we going to beat the aliens without Will Smith?

I’m guessing you experienced much the same this last weekend:  Where do you go when there’s too much to see, too much to do, and too little time to do it in?

You did what I did. You made decisions and judgments.  Quick ones.  You heard about all the things you could do, on television, radio, and from your friends.  You read about what was going on, in the newspaper, on Facebook, via Twitter, in emails, and online.  You probably discussed all the choices with your family, your spouse, or your friends.  Then, you decided.  You processed all the choices and said: “This is what I’m doing this weekend.”

Here’s why I’m focusing on this:  When a business is working to become a Destination, there’s one primary outcome that they must accomplish.  How do we get a consumer to say:  “I’m going to that place!”  That’s really the #1 Goal. Get the potential customer to come to your business.  Do this well and it leads to Outcomes 2, 3, and 4:

#2:  Customers connect with your business, and they spend money with you.  A little money’s OK, but spending a lot is preferable.

#3:  They leave as ecstatically happy customers, and they go out and talk positively about your business, spreading word-of-mouth.

#4:  The next big step: Getting them to come back again and again, each time, giving you and your business money.

To summarize:  That’s the place I’m going, followed by, that’s the place where I’m spending my money, followed by, that’s the only place I’m going from now on.

It seems easy, but it’s not easy. There’s a definite step-by-step process that must be followed.  Now, I’m not saying that the process is hard.  It’s not hard.  Any business owner can do it if you follow the correct steps to create Consumer Preference, and you know strategically how to push the motivational “buttons” of consumers.

Intrigued?  Well, if you’d like to learn how to push those buttons so that customers come to your business again and again, read on.

2016 Destination BootCamps

Most of you know that I spent years discovering what makes one business a Destination that becomes extremely profitable and successful, while another business in the same community doesn’t have that success.  To learn this, I interviewed over 10,000 business owners and traveled to over 500 cities and towns.  I also kept really, really good notes, processed what I learned from all the brilliant business owners I’d interviewed, and then, (and this took a little luck), realized that what each of these super-successful business owners was doing was actually a repeatable process that I could teach. And for the last 19 years, I’ve taught this.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to take you years of your life to learn this.  You can learn how to make your business a Destination in 2½ days, at my Destination BootCamp, held in Longmont, Colorado.  (Here’s a photo of our most recent class)

DSCF3886

If you want me to teach this Destination strategy to you, you have two (2) Destination BootCamps in 2016 where we still have seats available:

Our next BootCamp, on July 26-28, has approximately 12 seats left, and I expect when it’s all said and done, that the class size will probably have about 25 attendees, based on our current projections.  (By the way, with this class, we will pass one thousand (1,000) business owners who have taken our BootCamp.

We’re not giving anything away to the thousandth owner/attendee, but I still think it’s kind of cool.

Then, our following Destination BootCamp on September 13-15 has approximately 8-10 seats remaining.  We are estimating this class will fill up.

Miss these 2 dates and you’ll have to wait until March, 2017 (8 months from now), to attend my next Destination BootCamp.

Interested in learning more?  Are you interested in learning why hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs have attended over the last 14 years and you still haven’t?  If so, go and read “What You’ll Learn” at the Destination BootCamp by clicking here.

Or, if you’re still skeptical, you might want to read what other previously skeptical business owners (just like you), said AFTER they took the class.  Read that by clicking here.

And finally, if you have any questions about how my BootCamp can help your business, feel free to call me directly at 303-774-6522, extension 104. I’m happy to talk to you.

Thanks!  Hope to see you in Longmont soon!

Jon

Everyone Wants You to Grow, but Who Really Wants You to Thrive?

Thrive not Survive

To all independent business owners!

Here’s something to think about:

I once received a call from the sales vice-president of a well-known national franchise who wanted me to speak at their annual convention.  He’d heard about me from one of his independent franchisees, and he knew that I helped businesses grow their sales, customer traffic, and profits as a Destination Business.

We seemed to be the perfect fit, but then he said:

“One thing: I can’t have you mention anything about that Destination-stuff you speak on. These are franchisees. They have set territories.  You can’t say anything about becoming a Destination Business because I don’t need a bunch of franchisees leaving that convention, all half-cocked, thinking they can pull customers from anywhere they want.”

And with that, I politely declined speaking for them, and referred him to another speaker.

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand his concern.  I know how franchised businesses work.  A well-known franchise (like a McDonald’s), wants their locations to deliver brand-uniformity: The same image, the same products, the same promise.

Consistency, not differences.

But here’s the thing: Consumers don’t always want the same.  Most of the time, they actually want uniqueness. They want one-of-a-kind.  They like individuality.  And they especially love Shop-Local, independent businesses run by local owners.

Who knew Mom and Pop were gonna be so Hot?

But the good news is: The principles of being a unique Destination can be merged with franchise systems. But you need a franchise management team that’s willing to grow and learn, like the Real Deals on Home Décor franchise. When I met with the Real Deals on Home Décor executive team, they hired me to help their franchisees grow their businesses.  Period!  No conditions. No limitations.  They wanted me to teach their franchisees and their management team all about my Destination strategy and they wanted me to give their independent owners all the tools they needed to bring in more customers and sales! We took the Real Deals franchise model and incorporated the most powerful parts of my 14-step Destination process and blended them together.  Then, they had me teach the strategy to their independent owners.

Real Deals on Home Décor wanted their franchise network of independent business owners to thrive, not just survive.

Now think about your company’s manufacturers who supply your business with products.  I learned there’s a difference in manufacturers when I spoke at the American Lighting Association.  No sooner had I left the stage when I was approached by the management team from Kichler Lighting, one of the largest lighting manufacturers in North America.  They liked what they’d heard and within 2 weeks, they had me design an entire 12-month training plan for their lighting showroom customers that included workshops, 1-on-1 consulting, and monthly Destination webinars, all designed to drive more customer traffic into their businesses.

Kichler Lighting created a program that took the strengths of their product lines and mixed it with the Destination Business process to help their retail store owners grow. Not just plod forward.

They wanted them to thrive.

Why do I tell you these stories?  Because I want you look closely at the companies, resources, and programs that are integral to your business, and then, decide if your company is receiving what you deserve.  Are the people who manage these entities just helping you maintain your business, or are they giving you all the tools to accelerate your business to its greatest potential?

Some of you know that James Cash Penney, the founder of the JC Penney chain, was a fellow Longmont, Colorado entrepreneur. His first business was located just 2 doors down from our location at 321 Main Street in downtown Longmont just 119 years ago.  I’m going to end this blog post with a quote from my former neighbor:

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

It’s time for you to insist that those forces start working towards your company’s maximum growth.

Destination BootCamp update:

I wanted to update you on our remaining 2016 Destination BootCamps:

  1. We have three (3) remaining Destination BootCamps in 2016 that have space in them. Their dates are:
    1. June 7-9
    2. July 26-28
    3. September 13-15

The October 25-27 class is full and can take no more participants.

Here are three workshops in my schedule that are open to the public:

Thursday, May 19: 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. at Hutchinson Community College, 1300 N. Plum, Justice Theater in the Shears Technology Building in Hutchinson, Kansas, Increasing Sales & Profits as a Destination Business. To register, call 620-665-8468 or email dukartd@hutchcc.edu.

Tuesday, May 24: 9:00 to 10:15 a.m. in Milwaukee Wisconsin at the National Main Street Conference, Room 102C in the Wisconsin Center.  The 7 Steps to a Memorable Main Street: Capturing Today’s Customers as a Destination Downtown. Join me for my 1 and only session, and then, stick around and let’s talk about your Destination Downtown challenge.

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14-15, Austin, Texas at the Real Places 2016 Conference, sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission. Go to RealPlaces.us for more information.

Thanks, Everyone!  Let me hear of your successes by emailing me at Info@JonSchallert.com

Jon

The 4 Biggest Lies Customers Tell You

Lies to Look Out forMost of you who own a business know this, but customers lie.  They lie a lot.  Most don’t do it in a spiteful way, but from the time they’re walking in your business, they’re not telling you the truth.

Does this shock you?  You must be new to the world of independent business ownership.

Let’s start with the first lie they spout when they walk in: “Oh, I’m just looking.”

But they’re really not. Most people are too busy to walk into a business and stroll around just looking.

Here’s what they’re really saying but not telling you:  The outside of your business looked interesting and something caught their attention. They had something in their head that they needed and they thought you might be the place.  They had a problem and they thought you were the solution.  Now they’re inside and your place isn’t living up to what they expected.

Now their interest?  Not so much.

Now that they’re inside, you’re about to hear the next lie.  Here it is:

“You have a cute place.”

Now, there are variations of this lie.  For instance, you might hear: “What a nice place”, “Your place is so different”, and “Wow, look at this place”.  Regardless of how it’s uttered, this is the lie to make pleasant conversation as they’re looking for that thing they need that they’re beginning to realize you don’t have.  They’re buying time, conveying friendliness, and scanning your business, deciding if your place is really worth the time to stay in and explore.

Finally, when they go up and down one aisle (I call it the “Just-looking-loop”), they start for the exit.  And right here, they’ll often spout these two Big Ones:

“I just love your place”.

My Mom used to say to me:  “Your nose is growing.”  Try saying that to them.

This is a bold-faced whopper.  For those of you who are naïve, who think they’re sincere, here’s how to know if they’re telling the truth:  If they say this, and it isn’t followed by giving you money and buying something, it’s a lie.

And the final one I love:  “I’m going to look around, and I’ll be back.”

Now they’re laying it on thick.

This one has different meanings.  Bottom line: They’re out of here. You’ll never see them again. This is their exit lie. This lie can mean that they misjudged your business, thought you had something that you either don’t have or they weren’t able to find, and now, they’re trying to be nice by giving you that exit compliment.

Or, this lie can have a different meaning these days:  It can also mean they found what they want in your business, but they’re going to check online to see if it’s cheaper and if it is, they’ll buy it there.

Well, that’s all the time I have today in this blog.  Hope you enjoyed the 4 Biggest Lies Customer Tell You.

Upcoming in my future blogs, I’ll explain these two favorites:

“I don’t come down here much because there’s not a lot of parking” and “I get so busy I just buy it online.”

Gotta love em!

With 40 Pages of Updates, You Should be Coming Our Way

We have five (5) Destination BootCamps this year, the next one being in 18 days on April 19-21.

By the way, we only have 3 seats left in it.  (And if you’re interested, the skiing is excellent in Colorado; stay for the weekend and go up skiing). FYI: Our registration BootCamp deadline for our April class is Monday, April 11.

After the April BootCamp, our next Destination BootCamp is on June 7-9, followed by one in the end of July, mid-September, and the end of October.

But you should know that in all of our 2016 BootCamps, I’ve already made over 40 pages of updates and changes, to keep the material current.  Lots of new website, social media, and digital marketing changes and additions, along with new photos, success stories, and my new “Shop Local” section, where you learn how to actually get customers to shop local, without having to play the guilt card (which doesn’t work anyway).

Finally, I’m always happy to talk to you and walk you through how I think you’ll benefit from our BootCamp, and if your business isn’t a good fit for my class, I’ll tell you that, too.  Just call me at our office number below.

Hope to see you in Colorado this year!

Until next week,

Jon

Quit Killing Your Business: Preserve Your Profit Margin

Your Money Up In SmokeI’m not very good sitting in an audience. Sitting’s not my thing. But I’m especially bad at sitting still when there’s a business consultant on stage telling independent business owners that their best shot at bringing customers in their doors is to discount their products and services.

You see, I was speaking at a conference, had some time between my sessions, and wanted to hear this consultant’s take on small business success, but I wasn’t in my seat 3 minutes and he starts telling the owners in the audience that a great way to bring people into their businesses was to give a “tax-free” day to customers, and discount their prices by the percentage of their tax rate.

Now, I’m not saying this technique won’t work.  It will.  But so will discounting your product 20%, 30%, or even 50%.  But why stop there?  If you really want to attract thousands of customers in a single day, just give all your products away for free!

Nobody wants that, do we?  Yes, we want customers to come in our doors, but we want them to pay a fair price so at the end of the day, we’ve made a profit and we’re making a living doing what we do.

But that starts with understanding the downside to price discounting.

Business owners are mistakenly giving up critical dollars that their businesses need to survive. I meet owners every day that have gone down the road of constantly offering discounts, but who also complain to me at the end of the year that they’re not generating a profit.

Folks:  Heavy discount marketing = a profit poor performance.

Plus, the more businesses discount their prices, the more their customers are trained to wait for the discount. (Think Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Sports Authority).

Oh, wait:  Sports Authority just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Coincidence?

There are smart ways to market a business with price discounting, creative methods that don’t hit your bottom line so hard, and in many cases, give the customer a feel that they’re getting a great deal, while really not giving up very much profit margin at all.  I have webinars in DestinationUniversity.com, our business owner training network, on this topic.  But for now, remember these basic tenants on discounting:

  • Every customer wants good value these days, but not all customers need a discount to purchase.
  • Discount marketing attracts the least loyal consumers who are most likely to desert your business when another business discounts more.
  • These same discount-oriented customers generally spend less money and demand more attention than more profitable customers.
  • Bottom-line reality: The more you discount, the more bottom-feeders you’re going to attract.

Want to minimize your price discounting?  It starts with focusing on making your business distinctive, specialized, and one-of-a-kind, focusing on unique products and specialized services that people haven’t seen before.

Or as I like to say: Creating customer insistence by becoming a Destination.

Only 4 Seats Left

We have only four (4) seats left for my April 19-21 Destination BootCamp, where you can learn to implement my entire 14-step strategy that turns your business into a Consumer Destination, equipped to entice customers from hours away.

If you’re not familiar with Destination BootCamp, click on www.DestinationBootCamp.com and take time to read the nearly 200 testimonials from business owners just like you, who write about how Destination BootCamp has accelerated the sales and profitability of their stores, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of dollars!

This is the fourteenth year I’ve been doing the BootCamp. We’ve nearly run 1,000 business owners through my process.

I know you’ve thought about attending. Why haven’t you?

Don’t miss this chance to transform your business. Make the commitment to come to Colorado and attend one of my 5 Destination BootCamps in 2016.

Until next week,

Jon

Can Your Business Change its Course like an Aircraft Carrier?

Sinking Ship“No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.” Turkish proverb

Let me tell you a story that a friend of mine, a retired Navy Commander, told me. One night over a couple of libations, I asked him what he did in the Navy, and while he was listing his different jobs, he mentioned that he had piloted an aircraft carrier, the largest sea-going vessel in the world.

Do you wonder just how large it is? A Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is 1,000 feet long (approximately 3 times the length of a football field), and as wide as a football field, 100 yards wide. Each one weighs 100,000 tons, which sounds large, until you do the math and realize that it’s tremendously heavy at 200 million pounds of metal floating on the ocean.

The more we talked, the more I asked questions. Seriously, this friend of mine had navigated an aircraft carrier! Finally, this question came to my mind: Just how long does it take to turn an aircraft carrier completely around to head in the opposite direction? Not just a small turn, but a complete 180-degree turn in the opposite direction? Here’s what he told me:

When he was “driving” it, he could make a 1 degree change in the direction of the ship every couple of seconds. That meant that in roughly 3-5 miles, depending on the speed of the ship, the current of the ocean, and the wind, he could completely turn the vessel around in just 3-5 minutes.

Think about that: A 200 million pound ship that can go from one direction, to the total opposite direction, in 3-5 minutes.

So my question is:

Why does it take entrepreneurs so long to change the direction of their business,
when they know they’re going the wrong way?

Seriously, I meet business owners all the time who confide in me and admit that the revenue they’re bringing in from their business is inadequate. They admit to me that their business has changed into something that is unrecognizable from what they dreamed of creating. And finally, they tell me how their business no longer gives them the joy and the thrill of owning it. It’s a burden, or worse, it’s turned into a really bad job.

Shoot, if you wanted a job, you could have stayed in the one you had before you started your business.

Listen to me: You CAN change the course of your business for the better, and you can do it in a short amount of time. Yes, it will take time to get it to where you want it to be, but it all starts with a simple decision: Admitting that you don’t like what’s happening and deciding that you will no longer steer your business in that direction.

Trust me on this: You ARE more nimble than a 200 million pound aircraft carrier. You have a brain to move your business forward, and it only has propellers. But if it can change its course in 5 minutes, don’t you think you should be able to change your course in even less time? I think so.

I’m going to leave you with this quote from Jim Rohn:

You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”

Don’t wait another day to do it!

33 Days from Today

Just 33 days from today, you could be sitting in my Destination Business BootCamp learning an entirely new way to bring more customers in your door. It took me almost 30 years to learn this 14-step strategy, but it’s all available to you when you make the trek to Longmont, Colorado to be part of one of my classes.

If you’d like to read about what you’ll learn at my Destination BootCamp, just click here.

You are also welcome to call me at any time, if you’d like to learn if my class can help your business. Just call our office line below.

As I said above: Don’t wait another day to do it!

Thanks, Everyone!

Jon